1. Like everything start small.
When asked what do you do for work or a past-time, practice saying confidently, ‘I’m a writer.’
Don’t apologise for being unpublished. Take it one person at a time, ‘yes, I write. I love it. You will be able to/can read my stuff on my blog/in my novels. I’m good at what I do. Loud and proud. That’s me.’ (I know! This is a tall ask but practice is key. I’m a work in progress myself.)
2. Start sharing your work with others who write.
Join face-to-face or online groups. Find one to suit your personality, needs and style. I liked online as I found it hard to face people with my writing (still do). There are heaps of free Facebook pages and groups. Fee-paying ones like my own indulgeinwriting.com are great and workshop weekends like TheInspirationProject.ie might suit you too. Be careful though of expecting to share huge amounts of your words, for good feedback, from busy people.
3. Attend launches and writing events.
Meet established writers. Listen to them. Follow their example and work ethic and be inspired by them. Go up and meet one at a launch or event and say, ‘I’m a writer.’ Practice your pitch – ‘I write dark historical fiction, short stories and women’s commercial fiction.’ If you’re not sure where you fit in this scary writing world, you can add, ‘I’m finding my voice and my niche but I’m writing and I love it. Please sign this for me because I loved your last book.’
4. Take and make opportunities to talk about your writing.
This is the hardest. Usually publishers will find writers public relations opportunities, but if you don’t have that behind you, making your own happen isn’t easy. Build your writing CV so that you’ve something to say. Do this by getting published in magazines, literary magazines and websites. Also public speaking can scare most of us, therefore start by;
5. Reading your work aloud at the smaller writing open mic events and in writing groups you know well (see above). Read your work aloud to others who are kind and practice talking about your craft in small groups.
6. This may sound odd, but practice recording yourself reading aloud and talking about your work. Or tell the dog or cat!
7. Try posting a few live videos on facebook/twitter. Short ones to start with. Watch vlogs or other writers talk about their work. Try one for yourself. Share it, if and when you feel ready to.
8. If you can do questions and answer blog posts, move to offering yourself to writing groups as an interviewee. Join tweet-chats on twitter about writing and discuss your writing and learn from others there in comments and tweets. #Writerswise is one.
9. Talk to other writers at book launches you attend. Practice approaching people who’s work you admire and talk with them.
10. Involve yourself in online writing groups which invite writers to do online writing events about their writing lives. See indulgeinwriting.com.
11. Ask local radio if they might be interested in a local writer’s news. They are usually super supportive. Practice your answers and listen to the show, get a sense of what they will ask or might like to know. (National media is harder but start with local media outlets and see where it leads).
12. Approach PR companies (like Hear me Roar Media) and see if their packages might suit you and help you in promoting yourself.
13. Offer local community groups and libraries a ‘meet and greet a writer’ opportunity. Do readings in your local library or women’s group/men’s shed.
14. Set up your own writing and reading group and start your own tribe.
15. Seek out literary festivals and other events. Ask for reading opportunities and be brave and ask how to get onto their programmes to do panels and workshops. I’m speaking at this fabulous global network event in Donegal on April 10th Women’s Inspire Network. Overcoming challenges.
To summarise, remember if you write – you are a writer. Be confident in saying it and don’t apologise for loving what you do. Say it over and over. Of course, someday I will actually believe it myself. One of these wet Irish days I’ll fully believe that I’m a writer.
Find my latest novel ‘The Healer’ below. ‘Yip, I’m a writer. I’ve written novels. Yup. Loud and Proud that’s me.’ 🙂